Thursday, November 22, 2018

19C American Cooking - Thanksgiving Dinners

"Bill of Fare of Thanksgiving Dinner in Connecticut, Nov. 1817. Geese 50,000, Turkeys 5,500, Chickens 65,000, Ducks 2,000, Beef and Pork, 25,000 lbs, Potatoes 12,000 bu, Turnips 14,000, Beets 4,000, Onions 5,000, Cheese 10,000 lbs, Apple-Sauce 12,000 gls, Cranberry do. 1,000, Desert. Pump. Pies 520,000, Apple Pies 100,000, Other pies & Puddings 52,000, Wine, gls. 150, Brandy, gls, 150, Gin, gls 120, Rum, gls, 1,000, Cider, Bran., & Whiskey, 6000. Which would take 650 hhds, of strained pumpkin; 81 do. molasses; 4060 lbs. ginger; 7000 lbs. allspice, 86,666 lbs. flour; 43,333 lbs of butter or lard; 325 hhds. of milk of 100 gals each; 1000 nutmegs; 50 lbs. cinnamon; 43,5000 dozen eggs--all which would weigh about 504 tons, and would cost about $114,000."
---New York Commerical Advertiser, Mssrs. Lewis & Hall, reprinted in several newspapers, including the Times [Hartford, Ct.] December 30, 1817 (p. 3) & Poulson's American Daily Advertiser [Philadelpha, Pa.], December 19, 1817
"Of all the holidays in the year which are generated among us New England people, there is, perhaps no day in the whole holiday vocabulary, that gives a more general source of satisfaction and joy, than...Thanksgiving...turkeys...bacon...chickens fricassied...oyster patties...soup...vegetables...pigeons...quails...bass...wood cock...potatoes...onions...beets...cold-slaw...rice, pies...plumb puddings..."
---"A Thanksgiving Dinner," Village Register [Dedham, MA] November 24, 1825 (p. 3)

"Thanksgiving...'Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.' And he is no true Yankee, who is not, in heart, at least, at home on Thanksgiving day...Another old saying, of the truth of which is expected every New Englander will on this day give practical demonstration, is theat "Victuals always taste best at home." It is a day of universal stuffing--and it is absolutely requisite to a proper observance of Thanksgiving, that at least three dinners should be eaten up in one. The children and grandhildren return home at this season, to pay their respects and manifest their undiminished love and affection, not to the "old folks" alone, but also to their roasted turkies and pumpkin pies...As a matter of course, Thanksgiving week is the harvest time of the merchants, especially those who deal in butter, lard, eggs, raisins and spices. The markets are supplied with poultry of all kinds...Thanksgiving week, moreover, is the crisis of a turkey's life...The dinner is the all important item...turkeys, geese, and chickens...stuffed and roasted for the occasion...Then come puddings and pies...among the most prominent of which is that savory dish, peculiar to New England--that sine qua non of a Thanksgiving dinner--the well filled, deep and spacious pumpkin pie. This concludes the feast--and for the remainder of the day, a drowsy dullness is very apt to prevail."
---"New-Bedford," New-Bedford Mercury, December 1, 1836
"Thanksgiving Dinner.
Roast Turkey, stuffed.
A Pair of Chickens stuffed, and boiled, with cabbage-and a piece of lean pork.
A Chicken Pie.
Potatoes; turnip sauce, squash; onions; gravy and gravy sauce; apple and cranberry sauce; oyster sauce; brown and white bread.
Plum and Plain Pudding, with Sweet sauce.
Mince, Pumpkin and Apple Pies.
---The New England Economical Housekeeper, and Family Receipt Book, Mrs. E.A. Howland, stereotyped edition [E.P. Walton and Sons:Montpelier VT] 1845 (p. 72)

"Thanksgiving Dinner.--A number of gentlemen, of this city, have very generously made arrangements to give the children at the Orphan Asylum, on Cumberland-street, a Thanksgiving dinner."
---"Brooklyn," New York Times, November 27, 1851 (p. 2)
"The Thanksgiving Dinner At the Five Points--The Ladies' Home Missionary Society design giving their Thanksgivingd dinner at the Five Points, under the big tent, which also been erected in the square just opposite the old Brewery. The tent previous to the day of the dinner will be used for divine service on the Sabbath, and for temperance meetings in the evenings. Mr. Pease is also active in preparing for his Thanksgiving dinner. Donations are solicted by both the ladies and Mr. Pease., who are engaged in a generous strife for good works, for which the poor will have cause to bless them."
---"New York City," New York Times, November 10, 1852 (p. 6)

"Thanksgiving day has come--let us make the most of it. It has a threefold nature...Spend it simply as a day of religious exercises and it would answer a good turn for men in this irreligious age. Spend it as a day of feasting simply, and one may have a very pleasant recollection of it during the coming year, and perhaps see nothing to regret on it s recurrence to memory. Or give it over entirely to the deeds of charity and works of benevolence, and one may make a good friend of conscience and lay fat streaks of comfort upon the ribs of his experience. Each is good, but the style which most fully meets our ideal of a Thanksgiving is where the three ways are twisted together into one...After service should come a dinner; --one so differnt from the daily dinner as to be a notability among the dinners of hte year;---a thing to be though of with a watering at the mouth;--one that a body may reproduce in his dreams when half-starved. It is all nonsense to say that a good inner is a transient affair; that its virtue, like the savor of a roasting goose, is unsubstantial and of no account but for a moment...A right nice dinner, under right pleasant circumstances, is like a thing of beauty--a joy forever. We feel warmer on a chill November night for the remembrance of a roasting fire the night before. A chill passes over us whne we think of the cold stoveless churches that they used to pack us in and preach us at by the hour. Our sorrows are represented in their memory, and the ghosts of our good dinners come up to comfort us years after the flesh they laid upon our homes has been wasted by toil, and those who eat them with us have ceased from the earth. Hard as the time are, no money that is not of fabulous amount could buy of us the bare memory of some Thanksgiving dinners we have eaten before now with the old folks at home. Let those who can, then, have a good dinner on Thanksgiving day...Blessed charity is not to be omitted...Let all unwelcome tasks be postponed to the next work day. Let the punishments lie over until Friday. Make it a day to be remembered, without any alloy, so far as it is possible...So may this Thanksgiving be a hearty and happy one, and one but pleasant days meet you till the return of another."
---"Thanksgiving Day," New York Times, November 30, 1854
"Yes, a Thanksgiving in Lawrence (Kansas)! What, exclaims some innocne Miss, sitting by her comfortable and secure fireside in Ohio, reading about the wretched squatter's home, and of the sickening facts form Kansas, what on earth can the people of Lawrence have to be thankful for? Ah! but the Lawrence folks are Yankees, the descendants of the men who two hundred years ago embarked on the Mayflower, seeking a land where they could enjoy freedom for themselves and their children. A public Thanksgiving dinner was preparerd at Lawrence, the proceeds of the tickets to be applied for the benefit of the Free-Sate prisoners at Lecompoton...The table was spread in a large stone building erected for a store, directly opposite the ruins of the Free-State Hotel. The guests sat down to dinner about 4 o-clock..." ---"From Kansas," New York Daily Times, December 3, 1856 (p. 5)  NOTE: No menu/dishes reported.

"Yours of this morning contained a notice in regard to Thanksgiving services, to be held in Metropolitan Hall under the auspcies of the Y.M. Christian Association. The Association desired to carry out the plan suggested in your notice. But after consultation with a number of citizens and soldiers, we found it might create dissatisfaction to thus select a single regiemnt form the 5,000 men now stationed here. Our reason for choosing the Douglas Bridage was that they have been with us longer than any others, and they expect to leave this week for the field. One other season was that they are uniformed, and the regiment is full which we thought might prevent others from coming. As our efforts have not been confined to any one regiment, we desired not to prejudice any of the soldiers against the Association. We would rejoice where we able to give a dinner to all the noble soldiers now in camp near our city, had not our expenditure for libraries, hymn books &c, distributed among fifteen regiments rendered this impossible."
---"The Thanksgiving Dinner to the Soldiers," Chicago Tribune, November 26, 1861 (p. 4)
"Thanksgiving dinner--We understand that a number of our benevolent ladies have in contemplation the idea of giving to the 200 sick and wounded soldiers now in the United States General Hospital...a Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, the 27th..."
---"Thanksgiving Dinner," Chicago Tribune, November 25, 1862 (p. 4)

"Yesteday was duly observed here as a National Thanksgiving, according to the President's appointment...Several of the churches held religions services, and respstabley numerous audiences, considering the condition of the city, gathered to render fitting praise and homage to Him to whose protecting mercy our beloved counry owes all its past triumphs and prosperity..."
---"Affairs in Tennessee," New York Times, December 5, 1863

"The undersigned, committee appointed at a meeting held at the Union League Club House, appeal to the people of the North to join them in an effort to furnish to our gallant soldiers and sailors, a good Thanksgiving dinner. We desire that on the twenty-fourth day of November there shall be no soldiers in the Army of the Potaomac the James or the Shenandoah, and no sailor in the North Atlantic Squadron who does not receive tangible evidence that those for whom he is periling his life, remembering him. It is hoped that the armies at the West will be in the like manner cared for by those nearer to them than we. It is deemed impracticable to send our more Southern posts. To enable us to carry out our own undertaking, we need the active cooperation of all loyal people in the North and East, and to them we confindently appeal. We ask primarily for donations of cooked poultry and other proper meats, as well as for mince pies and for fruit. If any person is so situated as to be unable to cook the poultry or meat, we will receive it uncooked. To those who are unable to send donations in kind, we appeal for generous contributions in money. Will not every wife who has a husband, brother, serving in the armies or navies of the Union, feel that this appeal is to her personally, and do her part to enable us to accomplish our undertaking?...We will undertake to send to the fort all donations in kind that may reach us on or before Nov. 20, and to see that they are properly and equally distributed. The should be wrapped in white paper boxes, and addressed to Geo. W. Bluff, Getty's Buiding, Trinity Place, New York. If uncooked it should be so marked on the outside of the box, and a list of contents should accompany the mix. Poultry, properly cooked, will keep ten days. None should be sent which has been cooked prior to Nov. 14. Uncooked poultry or meat should reach us on or before Nov. 18, that it may be cooked here."
---"Thanskgiving Dinner for the Soldiers and Sailors, New York Times, November 8, 1864 (p. 2)

"The committee consisting of our leading merchants and citizens, appointed to carry out the proposition to furnish our gallant coldiers and sailors a Thanksgiving dinner, appeal to the people of the North to join them in the effort. They ask for cooked poultry and other proper meats, as well as mince pies, sausages and fruits...Contributions in money should be sent to Theodore Rosevelt, Treasurer., No. 94, Maiden Lane."
---"A Thanksgiving Dinner for the Soldiers", Chicago Tribune, November 14, 1864 (p. 1)

"Whatever the rest of New Jersey may have accomplished, this town has certainly done all its duty by making a generous and hearty response to the appeal to assist in furnishing the soldiers with Thanksgiving dinner. The movement was inaugurated last week, and it at once enlisted the cordial cooperation of the whole community....Those who have heard this "war song" do not need ot have it described, and those who have not heard it must take the fist opportunity of doing so. The turkies, chickens and other "fixens," wioll be packed to-morrow morning and forwarded to New York to swell the contributions which will enable our soldiers to observe Thanksgiving in a becoming manner."
---"A Turkey Festival in Montclair, N.J.," New York Times, November 19, 1864, (p. 8)
"Thanksgiving Dinner. Oyster soup, cod, with egg sauce, lobster salad, roast turkey, cranberry sauce, mixed pickles, mangoes, pickled peaches, cold slaw, and celery; boiled ham, chicken pie ornamented, jelly, mashed potatoes browned, tomatoes, boiled onions, canned corn, sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli. Mince, and pumpkin pie, apple tarts, Indian pudding. Apples, nuts, and raisins."
Jennie June's American Cookery Book, Jane Cunningham Croly, New York

"Thanksgiving Dinners. --Oyster soup; boiled fresh cod with egg sauce; roast turkey, cranberry sauce; roast goose, bread sauce or currant jelly; stuffed ham, apple sauce or jelly; pork and beans; mashed potatoes and boiled onions, salsify, macaroni and cheese; brown bread and superior biscuit; lobster salad; pressed beef, cold corned beef, tongue; celery, cream slaw; watermelon, peach, pear, or apple sweet-pickles; mangoes, cucumbers, chow-chow, and tomato catsup; stewed peaches or prunes; doughnuts and ginger cakes; mince, pumpkin, and peach pies; plum and boiled Indian puddings; apple, cocoa-nut or almond tarts; vanilla ice-cream; old- fashioned loaf cake, pound cake, black cake, white perfection cake, ribbon cake, almond layer cake; citron, peach, plum, or cherry preserves; apples, oranges, figs, grapes, raisins, and nuts; tea and coffee."
Buckeye Cookery, Estelle Woods Wilcox, Minneapolis Minnesota

"Our Thanksiving-dinner table is not furnished as our grandmothers loaded their in the olden time. The board no longer groans, either literally or metaphorically, under its burden of meats, vegetables, and sweets...Begin the meal with a good soup. Either oyster or tomato is recommended. To this should succeed fish. If you live near the seashore, boiled cod with drawn butter may be suggested; if you are in one of the interior States, lake trout or whitefush with egg sauce will be found equally good for the occasion. Most well-bred people, I may ht just here, in eating fish--boild, in particular--rarely touch it with their knives, even when there are of silver. The fork is used for breakgin apart the flakes, for separating form these and removing the bones, and for conveying the prepared morsel to the mouth. No vegetables, unless it be potatoes, plain or mashed, are passed with fish. Then, leading up to the main business of the hour, let the next offering be nice entree of made-dish--chicken-pates or croquettes, in memoriam of the ponderous chicken-pie which was a standing dish with our grandmothers on the fourth Thursday of November. With these send around stewed salsify and pickles. Then--the central theme, the point of clustering interests--the Thanksgiving turkey! He should be well stuffed, carefully basted, judiciously turned from time to time, rich in coloring, done to a turn in the thickest joint, but nowhere scorched--a goodly type of plenty from temporary seclusion. Our bird should be dished on a large platter and accompanied by a sauce-boat of gravy from which the fat was skimmed before the chopped giblets were stirred in; also a dish of cranberry-sauce, or jelly, and sweet potatoes. When the savory portion laid on each plate and has been duly discussed, pass a glass stqand or salver or crisp celery, both as an assistant to the gastric juices and as a tonic to the palate that shall prepare if for the remainder of the banquet...Eat the lettuce--and, indeed, all salads--with the fork alone. If the leaves have been properly selected, there is no excuse for touching the knife; and lettuc which cannot be cut with a fork-tine is unfit for table use. Crackers and cheese follow this course, and if you like, olives. This is the breagint-space in a 'course dinner,' and is the cheerful chat that has been the best sauce of the meal is here especially in order--a runnign fire of jest and repartee, reactign wholesomely upon the appetite and digestion. The pumpkin-pie is the next consideration. The crust should be short and flaky, not friable and tasting like dessicated lard. The filling must be of a golden brown, in the enjoyment of which the palate cannot discern the various elements of milk, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin, but is well pleased with the combined whole. Fruit and nuts are eaten at eas; and, these disposed of, send black coffee after the withdrawing company into the parlor as a grateful stomachic sequel. The dinner here proposed costs no more than the very promiscuouis 'spread' that crowds many a table in farmhouse and unfashionable street upon this national anniversary, to be swallowed in half the time the decorous suggestions above will require."
---"Thanksgiving Dinner, Adapted from Marion Harland, The Kansas Home Cook-Book, Mrs. C. H. Cushing and Mrs. B. Gray, facsimile 1886 edition Creative Cookbooks:Monterey CA] 2001 p. 27-320
"During the week preceding Thanksgiving the New England housekeeper is a busy woman. All over the country, but especially in New England, men and women look forward to the holiday as a time for going to old homes,--a family day. At no other time in the year do so many large family-gatherings take place. It is desirable to preserve the characteristics of the old-fashioned dinner, yet the addition of comparatively modern dishes improves the meal...Remember that the chief aim is to produce happiness, and that many of the company will not be wholly happy if the mistress of the household must pass a good part of the day in the kitchen. On this account the greater the preparations made in advance the better, so as to relieve the housekeeper of as many duties and as much anxiety as possible of the holiday."
---Miss Parloa's Kitchen Companion, Maria Parloa [Estes and Lauriat:Boston] 1887 (p. 918)

"This, of all days in the year, is the one to lift you from the burdens of care and trials. It is a day of happiness, because as a rule it brings a family reunions; and to the American, home happiness is as essential to his existence as pure air. This day should also be a day of happiness, as it is a day of thanksgiving, and every creature, no matter what his position chances to be, has, if he looks at it in the proper light, something to be thankful for. One day, among the many days, put aside as a thanksgiving to Him, the Giver of all good to all men, makes it more impressive than each day's thanksgiving. The dinner should be as good as one can afford. Thought and management will give a change to those whose purses be thin, and, with a proper feeling and happiness, this dinner, with but slight variations, will be the best dinner of all the year. To eat and enjoy the good that God has given us is one way of showing to him our appreciation of them. Milton says: 'To refrain, when bounty has been given us, is an evidence of ingratitutde to the Giver.' Come, if possible, this day to the table with a light heart and a cheerful manner, and do your part to make the feast a happy one. A turkey must, of course, be an important feature of this our thanksgiving dinner, and a New Englander would tell you that a baked ham was also a necessity. I shall give three bills of fare, with quantities for twelve person.
Menu No. 1.
Oysters on the Half Shell
Puff Ball Soup
Olivers, Gherkins, Salted Pistachio Nuts
Fish Souffle, Parisian Potatoes
Roasted Turkey, Oyster Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce
Potato Croquettes, Asparagus Tips
Baked Ham, Champagne Sauce
Lettuce, French Dressing, Fried Shrimps
Toasted Water Biscuit
Pumpkin Custard, Cranberry Tart
Menu No. 2.
Oysters on the Half Shell
Olives, Salted Almonds
Roast Turkey, Bread Stuffing
Oyster Sauce
Mashed Potatoes, Peas
Cranberry Jelly, Mayonnaise of Celery
Wafers, Neufchatel

Menu NO. 3.
Tomato Soup
Salted Almonds
Roasted Duck, Potato Stuffing
Baked Macaroni
Chicken Croquettes, Peas
Celery on Lettuce Leaves with French Dressing
Cheese Fingers
Pumpkin Custard
---"A Thanksgiving Dinner," Mrs. S. T. Rorer, Table Talk, November 1890(p. 416-417)

1897: Vegetarian Thanksgiving
"Menu of the Vegetarians.
Amont the most novel celebrations planned for Thanksgiving day is the banquet of the Vegetarian club of the University of Chicago. It might puzzle the ordinary citizen to figure out a way for a vegetarian club to do justice to the day sacred to roast turkey and stuffed pig, and a Thanksgiving day without turkey might seem like the play of 'Hamlet' with the part of Hamlet left out, but he Vegetarian club seems to have solved the problem to the entire satisfaction of the members, as the following menu will show:
Mock turtle soup with quenelles
Salted almonds. Olives
Potatoes en pyramide with mushrooms
Nut croquettes. Haricot verts.
Farced tomates with spaghetti a la Milnaise.
Orange gueseurs.
Maraschino jelly. Chartreuse of cranberries.
Whole wheat bread.
Pineapple bavaoris with carmine cream.
Pistachio cake, Kisses.
Melange of fresh nuts.
Mixed nuts with raisins.
Cheese. Zephyrettes.
Cafe noir. Milk. Calpilaire.
---"For a Royal Feast," Chicago Daily Tribune, November 21, 1897 (p. 46)

See The Food Timeline